RHS musical theatre presents “The SpongeBob Musical: Youth Edition.” Eli Cooper practices his role of SpongeBob alongside Zack Pinkard as Patrick Star and Bailey Palmer as Mr. Krabs.

RHS musical theatre presents SpongeBob Musical

Adventure-seekers and lovers of musicals will soon have the opportunity to plunge under the sea with “The SpongeBob Musical: Youth Edition.”

Russellville High School musical theatre students, under the direction of Patrice Smith and Aaron Freeman, are set to take the stage in the Russellville City Schools auditorium for performances March 24 at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and March 26 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

“I’m just excited to work with such talented students,” said Freeman. “They’re working hard, and I appreciate that. The energy level is very high, and I can tell they’re having a good time rehearsing. Some of the students are really stretching out of their comfort zones, with a few of them singing and acting for the first time.”

Smith echoed his sentiments.

“The students are very excited,” she said. “It’s all coming together and getting real. The teamwork is evident everywhere. The kids are a family, and they’re really pitching in to help each other.”

The musical is based on the television series by Stephen Hillenburg, book by Kyle Jarrow and musical production conceived by Tina Landau. For this story, when the citizens of Bikini Bottom discover a volcano will soon erupt and destroy their home, SpongeBob and his friends must come together to save their undersea world.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and can be purchased on GoFan, at the door or by pre-sale through a student performer or the RHS front office.

RHS senior Tara Cummings, who plays Sandy Cheeks, said performing on stage is “the most rewarding feeling.”

“The euphoria is indescribable. It’s possibly the best feeling in the world,” she said. “Between the anticipation before the opening number through the ending bows, you feel confidence, pure emotion and passion.

“The connection the students have with the show and each other make these feelings so much stronger,” Cummings added. “It is truly a blessing to have this opportunity to perform.”

Smith said it’s always fun when the students start to see the show coming to life. The cast – more than 60 characters, including several tech students – is made up of RHS musical theatre students, selected in January. Rehearsals started in January, as well.

Smith said putting together a musical is about more than just the performance. “I love seeing all the little pieces come together to create something really magical.”

Smith said while there has been some controversy about the type of humor in the SpongeBob television show, that’s not a concern for the RHS musical. She explained the school edition shows are shorter, “edited down to the very best parts,” noting the humor in the youth version musical is not objectionable. “Before deciding what we wanted to do, I saw the show, read the script and listened to all the music,” she added.

While she describes herself as “not a huge fan” of the cartoon, she’s enthusiastic in her support of the musical. “This is easily the happiest show we’ve ever done,” Smith said. “It’s just so much fun. There’s a lot of color, joy and super catchy music. It all feels so new and fresh, and the kids are having the best time.”

RHS senior Eli Cooper, who plays SpongeBob Squarepants, said what he enjoys most about musical theatre is “seeing the audience smile and cheer.”

“I want to make sure that through my music and dance moves the audience will have the time of their lives and enjoy every moment,” he said. “We make a lot of great memories in musical theatre, and I love being there with my friends and teachers.”

RHS senior Briley Palmer, who plays Mr. Eugene Krabs, explained performing “allows me to be someone else and be silly, funny and just something completely different than myself.”

“I think everyone should come see our show and watch us just have fun because this is one you will enjoy every second of, and I want everyone to see it,” Palmer added.

Smith praised all the students and their efforts.

“It’s fun to see the students grow in their talents and confidence, as well as leadership – not only in singing, dancing and acting but also in being leaders and mentors for each other.”

The musical features original songs by Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, Lady A, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants and T.I., as well as songs by David Bowie, Tom Kenny and Andy Paley, with additional lyrics by Jonathan Coulton and additional music by Tom Kitt.

CAST

Abigail Ashton – Sandy Cheeks

Kaitlyn Balding – Pearl Krabs

Cami Carson – Sea Anemone Dancer

Hank Cartee – Sheldon J. Plankton

Rosa Castro Mendoza – Sea Anemone Dancer

Airielle Cooper – Karen Plankton

Eli Cooper – SpongeBob Squarepants

Erika Cruz – Karen Plankton

Journey Cummings – Plankton Dancer

Tara Cummings – Sandy Cheeks

Evan Davis – Patrick Star

Jared Davis – Mr. Eugene Krabs

Lakin Derrick – Sardine Devotee Soloist

Esbeidy Donagustin-Jimenez – Sardine

Hannah Figueroa – BFF Dancer

Aria Gipson – Sponge Chorus

Jackeline Gonzalez Sanchez – Mrs. Puff

Jazmine Gonzalez Sanchez – Sponge Chorus

Maria Gonzalez – Electric Skate

Ella Green – Sardine Devotee Soloist

Emmy Green – Plankton Dancer

Celina Guarcas Cua – Tech

Miranda Guiterrez Gamarro – BFF Dancer

Amanda Higgins – BFF Dancer

Lexie Higgins – Sponge Chorus

Hannah Hulsey – Sponge Chorus

Maci Jackson – Electric Skate

Devin Jones – Larry the Lobster

Sarah Kate Kiel – Sea Anemone Dancer

Aidyn Marshall – Electric Skate

Emily Martinez – Sardine

Steven McCormick – Old Man Jenkins

Victoria McGinnis – Sea Anemone Dancer

David Miguel Tomas – Perch Perkins

Josue Miguel Tomas – Perch Perkins

Eian Nance – Electric Skate

Kailey Newton – Tech

Parker Odom – Squidward Q. Tentacles

Audrey Oliver – Plankton Dancer

Lily Cate Pace – Pearl Krabs

Briley Palmer – Mr. Eugene Krabs

Kinsley Palmer – Sea Anemone Dancer

Haylee Patrick – Sardine Devotee Soloist

Jennifer Pham – Sponge Chorus

Zack Pinkard – Patrick Star

Mylee Pounders – Sponge Chorus

Selena Pounders – Sardine

Andrea Quinones – Sardine

Elijah Racz – Squidward Q. Tentacles

Hailey Rogers – Sea Anemone Dancer

Bryan Ruiz – SpongeBob Squarepants

Antonio Santamaria – Sheldon J. Plankton

Bianca Santamaria – Mayor of Bikini Bottom

Elizabeth Shremshock- Tech

Rosie Solis – Mayor of Bikini Bottom

Linda Sop Otzoy – Electric Skate

Kaitlin Speck – Sea Anemone Dancer

Cali Stevens – Lead Tech

Raney Stone – Plankton Dancer

Olivia Taylor – Tech

Damar Valdez – Sponge Chorus

Dayami Valdez – Sponge Chorus

Allison Valladares Rojas – Sea Anemone Dancer

Hannah Waldrep – Sponge Chorus

Ebony West – Plankton Dancer

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